July is rapidly coming to a close, and much of the United States has been under heat advisories due to historically high temperatures. While much of the Midwest and East suffered dangerously hot temperatures last weekend (July 20-21), this weekend (July 27-28) the West coast has its turn.
Heat and Exercise
When the weather is so hot it is extremely important to care for your health, as well as the health of your pets by ensuring that you stay well hydrated and that you do your best to avoid exertion during the hottest parts of the day. Limit your exercise to early morning hours if possible. Often during a heat wave temperatures in the evening remain high. Remember if you are walking your dog outside that the ground temperatures can cause burning of their foot pads quickly. If you don’t want to walk barefoot on the concrete or asphalt, please don’t ask your dog to walk on those surfaces either. There are special booties that you can purchase to protect your dog if they need to be walked, but avoidance of the heat is the easiest solution. Animals that are sensitive to the heat that may normally live outside (chickens, rabbits) need extra care when the temperatures rise. Providing ample shade, misting hoses, fans, shallow pools, and frozen water bottles (provided your rabbit doesn’t chew the plastic) can help your animals regulate their body heat. In extreme conditions you may need to move your outdoor animals inside for a day or two to help them endure the heat.
Heat and Your Kids
Children have a harder time regulating their body heat when the weather reaches extremely high temperatures. Despite continued warnings about leaving children and pets in hot cars, deaths continue to happen. WHENEVER you are out with your kids, leave a personal article (your purse, wallet, a shoe) in the back seat of your car with your kids so you will remember to get them out of their car seats. Or place a note on the dash of your car that you will see when you arrive at your destination. Take some extra time to find a way to remind yourself about those precious packages in the back seat of your car or van.
Heat and Senior Citizens
Seniors also have a challenging time regulating their body temperatures in the heat, and if they live in a home without air conditioning, they may be at increased risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke which can turn deadly if not treated. Do you have any seniors living in your neighborhood? Is there a system to check in with them during a heat wave? Why don’t you find out. Maybe you could rotate among your neighbors to check in with the elderly people living in your neighborhood. Make sure they are handling the temperatures, and if you can, offer a cooling area for them when the weather gets too hot. A fan can help to move air and cool down the body. Another inexpensive option is to purchase a Chilli Pad from Frogg Toggs. These type of cooling towels, when placed on the head and neck can greatly help with body temperature regulation.
Helping Others Endure the Heat
Finally, don’t forget about first responders, and mail/package carriers who are out working in stifling summer temperatures. Offer some cool water or some ice, if you are able. When your UPS driver, who travels in a hot box of a van without air conditioning comes to your door, hand them a small baggie of ice and some water. When we help each other out, it is much easier to get through the long days of summer when it is just too darn hot!